A post-apocalyptic offering The Renegade hovers somewhere between a 3* and a 4*, it’s a story with a great deal of potential; yet doesn’t quite hit its mark.
The story revolves around one of the main protagonists, Alex Clarke, as she navigates a post-apocalyptic world, one where the ‘Red Death‘ pandemic has wiped out most of the world’s population.
Survival is a lonely and dangerous endeavour. And Alex soon begins to realise that making the wrong choice in who to trust, is a one way ticket to dire circumstances and almost certain death. As Alex battles her way through this new dystopian universe, the people she encounters confirm her fears; decency and morals have all but disappeared off the face of the Earth.
In spite of the state of the world, Alex soon befriends a puppy – Paddy, and then a guy called Murphy who whilst harmless and friendly, is equally naïve and utterly ill-equipped to survive in his new reality. Together, they find themselves at Rapture’s Haven which at first glance would appear to be a well fortified and safe sanctuary. But all is not as it seems, as Alex soon learns upon meeting the camp’s medic, Evelyn Bennett, and her son, Jamie.
Rapture’s Haven is anything but a sanctuary; instead it’s a religious cult, where women are all but slaves, kept to serve the men of the encampment and rear children. Once in the cult’s grip, escaping is virtually impossible. But as Alex and Evelyn fall hard for each other, escape is their only shot at being together, free from the depraved clutches of Rapture’s Haven.
As the story draws to a close, the author introduces a plot twist which as a whole is difficult to see coming, and yet the ending feels rushed, abrupt almost, despite the rest of the book having been well paced and sufficiently detailed. That being said, i did find some of the character development to be lacking in depth, at times it felt difficult to believe in Alex and Evelyn’s rapid relationship growth with some interactions feeling a bit ‘the only gay in the village-ish‘.
As a major lover of the post-apocalyptic genre, i admit to being disappointed in how unauthentic some aspects of this part of the plot were. It’s arduous for a reader to remain within a post-apocalyptic world when there are elements of the story which just don’t add up. In this instance, most of humanity has been wiped out by the Red Death and yet fizzy drinks, chocolate bars and even beer, appear in the story as if there are still people alive continuing to manufacture these products!?
Did i enjoy this book? Yes, – at face value The Renegade is an enjoyable post-apocalyptic story, which has enough action to keep a reader interested. Could it have been better? Absolutely. I could easily envisage this story as a series if there were better character development and more detail put into the overall plot.